Disclaimer: I am NOT what you would call “incredibly crafty” and I’m also pretty bad at writing tutorials (How I successfully wrote 12 Montessori albums, I’ll never know). I also haven’t taken the Assistants to Infancy training, so if there’s a different/better way to do this, please leave your comments below for the benefit of all readers.
A few months ago I wrote about the Gobbi mobile, which is a favorite among babies starting around 8 weeks of age. Several readers have asked me for a tutorial, so here goes…
Materials (can be purchased at Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or other craft stores):
- Embroidery floss (aka, thread) in five ascending shades of one color (you will need 2-3 skeins of each shade). Take a look at this list of suggested shades!
- Five styrofoam balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
- One embroidery needle (MUST be longer than the diameter of the balls)
- One dowel (about 12 inches long)
- The patience of a Buddhist monk
Instructions: (Click on pictures to enlarge)
Use the dowel to carefully bore a hole in each of the spheres. Try to get the hole to run straight through the center of the sphere. You can wiggle the dowel a bit as it’s going in, or scrape the sides of the hole once it’s made, so that the diameter of the hole is slightly larger than the diameter of the dowel (this will be helpful when threading the embroidery floss over and over again through the hole).
Prepare a long piece of floss (about 48″) and thread your needle. (Note: I’ve seen some people thread the entire skein of floss at one time, but I have found that it gets tangled up and frayed.)
Pass your needle with the floss through the hole in one sphere, until most of it has passed through and you only have a small “tail” of floss sticking out. Smooth that “tail” onto the sphere (the styrofoam will help to grip the thread) and bring the needle around to the hole where you started.
Insert the needle again, pass the thread through, and make sure that you “step” on the tail with the thread that is now wrapped from one end of the sphere to the other.
Bring the needle back around, and repeat, threading it into the hole and pulling the thread through. Try to keep the resulting strands of thread as close together as possible, so they begin to cover up the white of the sphere.
When you’ve used up all the thread on the needle, leave a little tail and smooth it down onto the sphere.Thread your needle with more floss, insert in the hole, and repeat the process from step #3. Eventually, your entire sphere will be covered in floss and no styrofoam will show through.
When you are done, pass the needle through the hole one last time and leave a length of floss about 12-16 inches long (this will be used for hanging the spheres).
Repeat the entire process with the next ball, using the next shade of embroidery floss.
Click here for Part II, where we discuss hanging the spheres. Happy crafting!!